Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

Sharks uber impressive!

Well, I certainly underestimated the Sharks, and at the same time probably overestimated the Reds …

Pure class

Saturday’s Super Rugby results:
Reds 17 – 30 Sharks
Crusaders 28 – 13 Bulls

Which gives rise to the following  semi-finals:

Chiefs v Crusaders
Friday, July 27, Kick-off: 09:35
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Stormers v Sharks
Saturday, July 28, Kick-off: 17:05
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town

And I think these are a fair reflection of the tournament thus far. The Reds snuck a place in the last 6 at the last minute, and only got to host a quarter final because of the pesky conference system. Based on performances this year, no Aussie side deserves to be in the semis …

Personally, I would prefer to see the SA sides playing the Kiwis as that is what I think Super Rugby is about – rather than local derbies which we get in the Currie Cup. It would also mean a long trek for the Crusaders, and just a pop over the Tasman for the Sharks. But of course I will be in the minority as this way we are guaranteed of having a team in the final. Also the Crusaders at Newlands comes with a whole heap of ugly political ramifications via the polarizing “Cape Crusaders” … So at least we avoid that!

As said by every man and his dog in the buildup, beating the Crusaders at Christchurch is nigh on impossible, but it was a little concerning to see how easily they smashed the Bulls. Morne Steyn had a dreadful game and his continued bad form has to be causing a fair amount of angst for Heyneke Meyer. Francois Hougaard was again a little tardy at the base, Pierre Spies was largely absent for the umpteenth time this year, Werner Kruger got eaten by Wyatt Crockett, Wynand Olivier was made to look like an under 12 C player by Robbie Fruean and Jacques Potgieter went backwards in the tackle a lot faster than he went forwards. To a man, all Springboks!

That said, this Crusaders side would probably beat most international sides at their home ground. It’s become almost clichéd, but with Richie McCaw and Dan Carter in that kind of form, it’s difficult to see any side beating them this year.

In Brisbane, the Sharks were the complete antithesis. Starting strongly, they looked the better side from minute one. I thought they would miss Frans Steyn, but Paul Jordaan more than made up for the loss – he was quite sublime, especially in the try that he made, and eventually scored. Outside him JP Pietersen was at his irrepressible best – magnificent feet, and a deceptive turn of pace saw him through a number of gaps. In the engine room all of Bismarck du Plessis, Ryan Kankowsi and Marcell Coetzee stood out in a performance the pack can be very proud of. I though Coetzee was especially useful at the breakdown, making steals normally reserved for Sir Richie!

But what stood out most for me was the iron clad defence seen from the Sharks. In the Reds face all day, the second last man would always receive man and ball at the same time, and more often than not, be smashed back in the tackle. You could almost see the passion, pride and guts oozing from the Sharks pores. Away from home, and having endured a nightmare travel schedule that saw them miss connecting flights in Sydney, this was a magnificent win. They really are a transformed side from the one that looked positively sieve like earlier in the tournament …

Don’t expect to see too many tries at Newlands though!!

And while referee Jonathan Kaplan might have been a little lenient on the Sharks come the offside line, it was bloody dreadful to see the Suncorp rabble boo him off the field in his 99th Super Rugby game. If they think he was the cause of their demise they are more delusional than even I imagined!

A few cheeky bets to be had on Sportingbet now:

Grand Final Winner    
Crusaders            7/4
Stormers             2/1
Chiefs                   7/2
Sharks                   5/1

The Finalists
Stormers v Chiefs            11/4
Stormers v Crusaders     9/5
Chiefs v Sharks                  5/1
Crusaders v Sharks          9/4

CLICK HERE to have a dabble …

Currie Cup 1st division results:
 
EP 56 – 5 Border
EP – Tries: Luke Watson (2), Wayne Stevens, Wayne van Heerden (2), SP Marais, Penalty Try; Conversions: Wesley Dunlop (7), George Whitehead.
Border – Try: Gareth Krause.

Boland 20 – 23 Griffons
Boland – Tries: Ashton Constant, Elgar Watts, Brandon April; Conversion: Watts; Penalties: Watts (2).
Griffons – Tries: Charles Marias, Willie Britz; Conversions: Reinardt Erwee (2); Penalties: Erwee (2).

Leopards 68-35 SWD Eagles
Leopards – Tries: Allister Kettledas (5), GJ Engelbrecht, Philip de Wet, Johan Laker; Conversions: Andre Pretorius (7), AE Engelbrecht; Penalties: Andre Pretorius (4).
SWD – Try: Alshaun Bock, Dumisane Meslane, Baldwin McBean, Elric van Vuuren, Wayne Kahn; Conversions: Theuns Kotze (5).

Pumas 36-35 Falcons
Pumas - Try: Renaldo Bothma, Deon Scholtz, Carl Bezuidenhout, RW Kember. Conversions: Bezuidenhout, JC Roos. Penalties: Bezuidenhout (4).
Falcons - Tries: Uzair Cassiem, John-Wessel Bell (2), Karlo Aspeling (2). Conversion: Karlo Aspeling, Arno Poley. Penalty: Aspeling. Drop-goal: Aspeling.

Club rugby results:
KZN: Durban Collegians 58-11 PMB Collegians, Varsity Coll 25-17 UKZN PMB, Crusaders 33-0 Harlequins, Rhinos 3-54 College Rovers
BLUE BULLS: Tuks 88-0 Silver Valke, Police 64-8 TUT, Centurion 70-10 Harlequins, Naka Bulls 76-7 Oostelike Eagles
WP: Villager 0-25 Durbanville-Bellville, False Bay 12-20 Tygerberg
Border: Buffalo 19-27 Old Selbornians, Fort Hare 30-20 East London Police
SWD: Progress 13-15 Crusaders, All Blacks 16-19 Bridgton, Blanco 45-6 Silver Stars, Evergreens 24-13 Barbarians, Uniondale 28-0 George, Groot-Brak 28-0 Bonnievale United
PREDATOR : Brakpan 66-30 Boksburg, Pirates 40-3 Benoni, Raiders 7-43 NWU Pukke, Wits 27-25 Springs, Union 26-25 Randfontein, Rustenburg Impala 53-10 Roodepoort, Alberton 0-83 UJ

All above results courtesy of @saclubrugby on Twitter – a good value follow!

Select school results:
Grey College 29-16 Pretoria Boys
Paarl Boys 22-7 Oakdale
Paarl Gym 17-17 Outeniqua
Maritzburg College 7-33 Affies
Grey High 14-18 Daniel Pienaar
Kingswood 22-14 Winterberg
St. Andrews 38-20 Marlow
Florida 18-23 Monument
Parktown 9-30 Jeppe
Paul Roos 12-3 SACS
Rondebosch 12- 5 Drostdy
Tygerberg 12-16 Bishops
Wynberg 12-30 Boland Landbou
 
All above results courtesy of www.saschoolsports.co.za

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Author: Tank

Ex WP prop with a fair amount of experience in all things media ...

11 Comments

  1. The Best front row and a whole team playing in harmony.great game to win Sharks.now take the finals …you can do it even with the odds against you up to today.And thanks for giving me 2 yellow caps for 2/2 today.congrats you were beautiful today.!!!

  2. As a lifetime Reds fan it was a frustrating and disappointing match. The Sharks earned their win regardless of anything else, and played some seriously good football that was entertaining and exciting – even if at the expense of my Reds.

    Kaplan got booed off the field for yet another disgusting performance at Suncorp Stadium. Between him and the absent touch judges, the refereeing was a joke. It may not have made a difference to the result, but some consistent and open-eyed reffing would have made it a much more finals-worthy match.

    Bring in the next round – there might not be any Aussies to follow, but at least there will be some good footy.

    • I know how you feel bud it is sad that the refs have to be used as an excuse for a teams failure to win a match …. we did the same thing in the world cup when we blamed the ref for stuffing us up in the semi …….. Unfortunately the record books do not allow for personal views on the performance of the ref. As my old mate UBA says
      just look at the scoreboard

  3. What a comitted Sharks team …. written off by Tank (sorry mate at least you have had the good grace to say you under estimated them )and several
    oher scribes, Gav Rich sat on the fence it was only Keo’s site
    writers that gave the Durban side a narrow win.
    But is was not a narrow win…. it was a demolition job.
    Now the scribes will be out saying the jet lag will kill them at Newlands
    next Saturday !!!!
    Do not count on it ………… Sharks to win (is my hope) against an absolutely
    brillian Stormers team

    • The truth Dave … I know you are a Sharks man through and through … But surely to have a realistic stab at the title this year, we need the Stormers to win this weekend? If Sharks win, they have to get back on a plane and take on the Chiefs or Saders. Now that travel schedule has to be too tough for even the Sharks? Stormers win and they are Newlands again …

      • I sccept that comment …. but I do not think (for one moment) that the Sharks
        will give it up “on a plate” so that a SA team has a realistic chance of
        winning the competition.
        The Sharks will give it their all and the Stormers will have to be on song to win this one (as they should do)
        I cannot stop hoping for Sharks 22-16 victory ….lets enjoy the game it is going
        to be a cracker

  4. Hi Tank This is a quote from a Kiwi Paper and it sums up the Bull perfectly but what is very scary it sums up half of our Boks. “The Stormers and the Sharks are the African title contenders I had expected the Bulls to be. Instead, this year’s Bulls proved to be cumbersome plodders obsessed with kicking the ball to the opposition.

    The street savvy Crusaders lapped it up, setting their line, running good blocking lines and punishing a Bulls outfit for their tactical naivety. The Bulls didn’t offer a shot all night.”

    • Yep, and when your half backs don’t fire that game plan comes badly unstuck! That said, after losing Du Preez, Matfield, Bakkies, Russouw etc, I think they would have taken 5th at the start of the season, though

      • I don’t disagree, but 13 Bulls players were in the Bok squad of 32, this begs the question? Were all these Bok players good enough to even challenge the Crusaders or is this the pick of SA rugby. It was the total outclassing that P!#sed me off. On the other hand the team with only 11 players on the Bok squad stepped up to the plate. It was probably an off day for the bulls but annoying.

  5. Trust that Saturday proves that Greyling, Ralipele and Kruger are nothing more than average CC players as they always have been. Hougaard – not sure if it is the tatoos or the new car, but he is very slow and extremely indecisive. As for Spies – like his late father, only effective if his team is dominating and he is given lots of space – as for his captaincy – Ray Charles could have done better – he is clueless. Does this show that the loss of HM and the back up staff he took with him has left a massive gap at the Bulls? The Sharks loosies were outstanding.

  6. Seriously can no one see it? Why has NZ been so dominant finally won the WC again and the Aussies got a Kiwi coach? The IRB with a few rule changes have unintentionally created a game that fits in perfectly with NZ style of rugby. Ze Counter attack.

    As for the Bulls and flack about Steyn. Show me on 10 shining behind a losing pack. Carter shined because his forwards gave the Bulls forwards a hiding. Steyn’s once dominant forward pack is not there anymore and now he is struggling. Show me one ten who shines behind a losing pack?

    Other thing is SA rugby should have consulted the guys who does the analysis before appointing a SA coach. Meyer is going to take SA nowhere as possession rugby is out and you need a fletcher